Monday, August 31, 2009

Seven week mark - orthodontist visit and strange comments

Today I am 7 weeks post-op. Feeling good. I've been doing the jaw exercises my surgeon gave me 6 days ago and can now not only get one index finger in my mouth, but its big fat knuckle too! And the pain in my joint has gone down a lot.

Today I saw my orthodontist again. At the end of it he said he wants to SHAKE the surgeons for getting my top jaw off to the side, that they should be obsessive-compulsive about getting it right! And earlier when I said that I'd told my (main) surgeon 2 days post-op that I thought the midline was off to the side, and that he'd said it just looked that way due to swelling, he also made a comment about them just saying things like that as excuses (or to that effect, I can't remember his exact words).

Gosh. I didn't know what to say. I'm glad he shares my disappointment but I would rather not be aware of dissent between surgeon and orthodontist. I just want them to get it right. I wish they would sit down together and talk about it so at least I'd feel sure they were on the same track.

I got the feeling that he thought that the surgeon should have realised the midline was off when I pointed it out and taken me right back to theatre.

BUT I must point out: neither he nor the surgeon picked up on the midline problem. They only got onto it now because I pointed it out. That is WRONG!!! I could see it the whole time but stayed quiet because I forced myself to trust that it was just the swelling.

Really I am more convinced than ever that you can't just trust health professionals totally. I couldn't help anything here but we really have to look after our own health because there is no one you can totally trust to pick up the pieces.

Basically the orthodontist feels that he is left to clean up the mess, and has only very limited techniques at his disposal compared to a cut-and-shift.

So can he help get the midline thing right? He thinks he can improve it but it will take some time and wearing of a band configuration which is a bit of a pain.

He thinks that the top jaw is not just off to the right slightly (approx 1mm), but skewed around on its axis slightly. That is why when I close my jaw in its central position the teeth all fit nicely on the left but not on the right. There are a couple of cusps banging on the right. However I don't quite follow the argument that the skewing is the reason for the banging, because the surgeons fixed my lower jaw to my already newly fixed top jaw, so presumably the lower jaw is slightly skewed also and should therefore fit the top one. (I only thought of that while driving home).

So now I'm wearing one bizarre band only. I have a bracket on the inside of a top molar, with a band going from it to the outside of the molar below it, so when I close my teeth I'm biting on the band. This is meant to move the top molars on that side outwards a bit so their outer cusps no longer bang on the cusps of the lower teeth. He seems fairly confident that will work.

Then after that he works on moving the midline over.

Goodness knows how much longer I'll be in braces!

Recently whenever I've seen my orthodontist I come home feeling like there's a disaster. Then I see him again and it's somehow passed for him! I suppose that's just his personality.

Before this surgery I spent lots of time visualising a perfect outcome. Is this life teaching me that nothing is ever perfect? One of my main emphases (is that a word?) was lack of numbness. That worked well. But things happen that you'd never predict.

The people I've showed the off midline to all say you'd never ever notice it unless it was pointed out. Personally I could definitely live with it if I had to ... but not the banging cusps. I know they'd just wear away over the years and cause pain and dental problems. They have to be fixed.

1 comment:

  1. Andrea,

    Wow...I want to comment, but I'm sort of at a lost for words...Other than to say, that your feelings about healthcare professionals (HCP's) are a MIRROR of mine. I TRULY believe that no one advocates better for our own health than US!!! That said, I try so hard not to paranoid about HCP's being incompetent and/or uncaring. But it's HARD. This is OUR body, and no amount of medical training on their part will compensate for feeling what we feel.

    I don't think I've addressed your question about what I'm feeling regarding my inevitable re-do...

    My emotions are a mixed bag. At times, it makes me sad and frustrates me that I couldn't be born with normal jaws/teeth. Then, NONE of this would even be necessary.

    At other times, I've come to accept the fact that God makes us all how we should be, and he helps us find the strength/courage to get through whatever dosen't kill us (LOL!).

    At times, I begin to wonder...IF the surgeon made a mistake (which I am almost CERTAIN he has), and he has 35 years experience, then WHO, in the world, would be able to fix me properly??

    At moments, I am totally afraid...The million "what if's" of surgery run through my head.

    At most of all...I just want this chapter in my life to CONCLUDE. In the healthiest way possible.

    In fact, I think I'm going to post these comments, because, until now, I've been unable to gather my thoughts without feeling overwhelmed in one way or another.

    On a rather poignant note....If I WERE born with perfect jaws, and straight teeth, I probably would have never met I guess this isn't the worst thing in the world. :-)